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SWA -10 Year Renewal of Scotch Whisky Trademark in China Announced During Prime Minister Trade Visit: 1st February, 2018

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has renewed its collective trademarks ‘SCOTCH WHISKY’ and its translation ‘苏格兰威士忌’ in China until November 2028. As a result, Scotch Whisky is officially protected from locally produced copies for a further 10 years.  The announcement was made as SWA Chief Executive, Karen Betts, joined the Prime Minister on a three-day trade visit to China.  

Scotch Whisky exports earn the UK £127 every second, totalling more than £4bn annually. Twenty-five bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported to China every minute, so protecting the Intellectual Property rights of the spirit is important to both the industry and the UK’s balance of trade.  

The SWA has worked closely with the British Embassy and Chinese authorities to crack down on locally produced spirits falsely described as “Scotch”.  Since securing trademark protection in 2008, the SWA has investigated and dealt with around 200 brands of fake “Scotch”, in addition to over 100 trademarks featuring Scottish words and images which companies have applied for in bad faith for use on their Chinese made products. 

Commenting, SWA Chief Executive Karen Betts said:
“The renewal of the ‘SCOTCH WHISKY’ trademark is an important step in securing future growth for the world’s leading high-quality spirit drink in China, the world’s largest spirits market.  

“While challenges remain, Scotch Whisky producers can be confident that the Chinese government officially recognises Scotch Whisky as a Scottish product, produced according to traditional methods, that should be given special recognition in the Chinese market.   

“The industry has enjoyed great support from the Chinese authorities, who take food fraud and IP protection seriously, in tackling fake “Scotch”. We’re grateful too to the British Embassy, which has provided invaluable support  

“As we approach the Chinese New Year, I’m delighted to join the Prime Minister on this trade visit to showcase the heritage, craft and quality of Scotch Whisky – which is the UK’s largest food and drink export. 

“China is a key market for Scotch Whisky, both now and in the future, and legal protection is the firm foundation on which our future trade is built.” 

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:
“I am pleased to be in China with the Prime Minister and a diverse contingent of innovative British businesses to promote our exports and attract Chinese investment into the UK.  

“China is a key market for British goods and services with exports increasing by 25% over the last year to more than £59 billion and it is my ambition to ensure that the trade relationship between our two countries continues to grow.”

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